football Edit

Signee Capsules: Auburn inks 16 on Wednesday

AUBURN | Auburn signed 16 recruits on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.

The group included nine signees who project to play defense and seven on offense. The 15 signees come from seven different states: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Texas, South Carolina and Virginia.

Here is a look at Auburn's signees, coach Gus Malzahn's thoughts and their high school accolades.

Malzahn: "Bo Nix, our quarterback has been committed to us for a while. We started recruiting Bo, I think, in eighth or ninth grade. You knew early on this guy had a chance to be really special. Of course, when he went to Pinson (Valley) they won back-to-back state championships, he was the MVP of both of those. He really has something special to him. He will be here in January. He did a super job really leading. He was one of the leaders of our class. He really held everything together. Really appreciate his leadership with that."

Accolades: Decorated quarterback who set Alabama state records with more than 12,000 career total offense yards and 161 career TD accounted for (127 pass, 34 rush) … led Pinson Valley High to consecutive Class 6A state titles … father Patrick Nix was his coach … Alabama Gatorade player of the year … USA Today All-USA offensive player of year finalist and All-America first team … Under Armour All-America Game … Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game … A-List … Rivals, 24/7 and PrepStar rate him the nation’s top quarterback prospect … Rivals, PrepStar five-star recruit … listed among top four overall recruits in state of Alabama by Rivals, 24/7, ESPN

Malzahn: "Owen Pappoe is a guy that really was our defensive leader in recruiting. He just did a super job of helping us hold the class together. I know that people came after him real hard. He hung in there. Travis Williams did a super job recruiting this guy. You know, we’re losing four seniors with our linebacker class, and we needed guys who could come in immediately, and he’s the guy that can do that. He’s got a wonderful family. Really excited about Owen.”

Accolades: Nation’s top-rated outside linebacker prospect … recorded 121 tackles, 14 TFL as a senior for Coach Christian Hunnicutt at Grayson High … Under Armour All-America Game … AJC Super 11 … Gwinnett Daily Post Super Six … Class 7A all-state first team … rated as a five-star linebacker prospect by 24/7, PrepStar and ESPN

Malzahn: "A defensive lineman from Mississippi. Very excited about this guy. We felt like he was one of the best big athletes in the entire country, and this guy right here will have a chance to help right off the bat. Really special-type skill set. Marcus Woodson, recruiting the state of Mississippi, did a wonderful job with him and Derick Hall, so that’s always good to get back in the state of Mississippi and have some success.”

Accolades: Prospect who brings size and strength to the defensive line … recorded 14 TFL as a senior for Coach Tony Vance at Hattiesburg High … Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game … Hattiesburg American all-area … consensus four-star prospect at defensive tackle … rated No. 5 (Rivals), 6 (24/7), 8 (ESPN) recruit in state of Mississippi … PrepStar Dream Team … also a basketball letterman

Malzahn: "He’s a guy who was a priority for us. Really he can play defensive end, he can play Buck. We think this guy has really big upside, very good football player now and he will be here early with an outstanding family."

Accolades: Athletic defender with plenty of potential … key contributor for Coach Andy Dyer and the Archer High Tigers, advancing to the state Class 7A semifinals … first team all-state, all-county and all-region … 24/7 and Rivals rate him as a four-star prospect … ranked No. 19 (Rivals), 21 (24/7), 28 (PrepStar) overall nationally at his position and No. 34 (Rivals), 38 (24/7) among recruits from the state of Georgia.

Malzahn: "He also played quarterback, but he will play corner for us. We think this guy is an outstanding athlete, 4-point student. He will be here early, too, with that."

Accolades: Terrific two-way athlete who projects as a cornerback … played in state title game as a sophomore and junior for Coach Scott Johnson at Oscar Smith High … World All-Star Bowl … Tidewater player of the year … consensus four-star prospect at cornerback … rated a top 10 overall recruit in state of Virginia by ESPN, Rivals, 24/7 … also a baseball letterman and honor student

Malzahn: "Derick Hall also was a priority for us from Mississippi. He’s a big-time pass-rusher, but he can also drop. He runs track. We think he’s got a big upside, and then just really excited about Derick and everything that he’ll bring. He’ll be here early, which I think that is big. I think we’ll have nine guys here midyear, so that always helps with that.”

Accolades: Long, athletic pass rusher with a broad wingspan … recorded 83 tackles as a senior for Coach John Archie and the Admirals … Under Armour All-American Game … Sun-Herald all-South Mississippi first team … rated among the top 10 prospects in the state of Mississippi … consensus four-star recruit … also a basketball starter and a state finalist at 200 meters in track.

Malzahn: "Jaylin Simpson is a guy that has bee committed to us for a while. Really helped us recruit. He was a quarterback in high school, won a state championship, he’ll play defensive back and he’s got the ability to play safety or corner. Very excited about him. "

Accolades: Talented defender who projects as a safety … 48 tackles, four interceptions as a senior for Coach Brandon Derrick’s Knights at Frederica Academy, helping them to the state championship … GISA all-state and all-region 2-3A … consensus four-star recruit … PrepStar All-America … state high jump champion and a basketball letterman.

Malzahn: "He’s half a receiver, half a tight end. He’s going to give us a lot of flexibility. He’s really versatile guy, comes from a football family. He’s on campus and he’s been here the last couple of days."

Accolades: Coveted tight end prospect … two-year starter for Coach Mike Chastain at Warner Robins High, helping the Demons to the Class 5A state championship title game All-American Bowl … ESPN ranks him the No. 8 tight end recruit nationally … top 40 overall prospect from state of Georgia by Rivals, 24/7 … also a basketball letterman.

Malzahn: "A bigger tight end, 6-5, 245, really a guy who can put his hand down, can block, a lot of traditional tight end things. Really excited about him. Luke’s been here a couple days. He did have a non-contact injury but we expect him to be back by the first of the season."

Accolades: Versatile athletic tight end prospect … passed for 742 yards and eight TD as a senior, while adding 332 rushing yards and seven scores and nine receptions and one receiving TD for Coach Tim McMahon at Emerald High … all-Lakelands team … Shrine Bowl … ESPN ranks him as a four-star recruit and the No. 10 tight end nationally … ranked among top seven prospects in South Carolina by ESPN, 24/7, Rivals … also a basketball letterman.

Malzahn: "He was at IMG when we first started recruiting him. He’s a Flower Mound High School now in Texas. A big athletic guy. We think this guy really has a chance to be really good. We’re excited about him getting here."

Accolades: Promising offensive tackle with strong potential … outstanding senior season … three-year starter for Coach Kevin Atkinson at Marcus High … first team 5-6A all-district for the Marauders … Texas Top 100 … three-star prospect rating by ESPN, 24/7, Rivals, PrepStar.

Malzahn: "'A wide receiver from Trussville, of course his head coach is a former quarterback of mine way back when, and he told me that when he moved in that he’s got a chance to really be good. Of course, we started watching him in the spring; he had a very good spring game. He came to our camp, he ran a 4.3 and plays bigger than he is. We offered him and he committed and has been with us the whole time. I think he’s just a few yards short this past year of setting a state record in yards receiving. I really think he’s got a chance to really do big things.”

Accolades: Productive prospect at wide receiver … totaled 87 receptions for 1,683 yards and 15 TD as a senior for Coach Josh Floyd at Hewitt-Trussville High … Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game … A-List … Class 5A all-state first team … rated a top 15 overall prospect in the state of Alabama by 24/7, Rivals, ESPN … ESPN four-star recruit.

Malzahn: "He’s here with us practicing. Zion’s a guy that had the ability, really, to play offense or defense. I think most people that recruited him felt the same way. He’s going to play defensive back for us. He’s got a great skillset. He makes great grades. He’s our type of person. We’re very excited about Zion.”

Accolades: Talented prep athlete who projects as a cornerback … recorded 93 career tackles for Coach Nick Davis and the Spalding High Jags … Class 4A Georgia all-state … consensus four-star prospect at cornerback … rated as the No. 12 (Rivals), 14 (24/7), 16 (ESPN) overall recruit from the state of Georgia … PrepStar Dream Team … also a basketball and track and field letterman.

Malzahn: "Really was one of our offensive line priorities. He’s from right down the road at Callaway High School. He’s got a chance to be a really good offensive lineman. He also was one of our leaders who really helped us with this recruiting class. A high-character guy, has got a great family.”

Accolades: Offensive lineman with outstanding potential … four-year starter for Coach Pete Wiggins and the Cavaliers at Callaway High … Under Armour All-American Game … SportsVision offensive lineman of the year … Class 2A AJC and GSWA all-state first team … consensus four-star prospect at offensive guard … rated the No. 14 (ESPN), 18 (24/7), 21 (Rivals) recruit in the state of Georgia.

Malzahn: "Nehemiah Pritchett, defensive back from Jackson, is a guy that came to camp, he ran a 4.3, really caught our eye. We watched him throughout the season. I think he played very good in this all-star game that he just had. I think this guy really has the ability to play corner or safety, and I’m very excited about him. A good student also.”

Accolades: Versatile athlete who projects as a cornerback in college … key contributor on both sides of the ball for Coach Danny Powell at Jackson High … Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game … consensus three-star athlete … rated the No. 19 (Rivals and 24/7), 25 (ESPN) prospect from the state of Alabama … a Class 5A first team all-state outfielder in baseball.

Malzahn: "DJ Williams, a running back that really caught our eye really probably about six weeks ago, and he plays quarterback. So, we watched the film and watched it again and then we called and found out a little background about him—a wonderful person, a wonderful family—and we offered him. After we offered him, it seemed like everybody in the country followed with that. He came on an official visit, really fit. He makes great, great grades; academics are very important to him. We fought everybody off and we think this guy’s got a chance to be a very good running back for us.”

Accolades: Gifted running back who had an outstanding senior season … rushed for 1,221 yards, 21 TD and passed for 1,113 yards, 13 TD as a senior for Coach LaVaar Scott and the Sebring High Blue Streaks … two-year all-Highlands … ESPN rates him as a four-star prospect at running back … ranked as the No. 24 (24/7), 27 (ESPN), 29 (Rivals) overall running back recruit nationally … also a baseball letterman.

Malzahn: “Jashawn is a very versatile, athletic player with great ball skills. He has the ability to play offense and defense, but will play wide receiver for us. He’s a winner that has been a part of a state championship along with Jaylin (Simpson).”

Accolades: Exceptional athlete on both sides of the ball … two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and 959 all-purpose yards as a senior for Coach Brandon Derrick and the Knights, helping them to the state championship … Under Armour All-America Game … GISA all-state and all-region 2-3A … consensus four-star prospect at wide receiver … rated as the No. 20 (ESPN), 28 (24/7), 38 (Rivals) overall recruit from the state of Georgia … also a track and field letterman